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Apr 14, 2012 07:21 AM

Mondo (Middletown, CT) - you've gotta try a pizza here!

Growing up, we really did have good pizza here in Middletown--not surprising, given the number of Italians who call M'town home. But over the years, Marino's, Giovanni's, D&S (for scacciata)...all the places I loved as a kid, were no longer...

Mondo opened in 2010. Great, another Italian place, I thought. And the reviews, at first, were mixed. I wasn't in a hurry to try it out.

Then I got a "spend $15/get $30" offer from I kinda thought it might be time to revisit that decision. And I read great reviews about their pizza elsewhere. Hard to lose for $15, right?

I could kick myself for not trying this place sooner. Their pizza is OUTSTANDING! There are "regular" pizza options, too, but we were drawn to the more creative/different ones, so we shared the following white pizza:

Truffle: Fresh Mozz, Goat Cheese, Ricotta, Red Onion, Toasted Pine Nuts & Truffle Honey

If you enjoy a sweet/salty contrast, you've gotta try this. The crust is thin, but not too thin. A bit of a char, I'd say the "just right" amount. Is it ever EXCELLENT! One pizza, two glasses of wine: $31 and change + tip...except mine was really $16 + tip because I had the handy voucher. Regardless, I'll be back to pay full price, because the pizza is totally worth it. Very friendly service as well, right from the door when you put your name in to wait, to the server who took care of us.

It does get loud because of the high ceilings, but it didn't detract from our enjoyment at all. In fact, because the couple who sat next to us was so nice, I can also vouch for the veggie pizza (they shared) and the eggplant fries--both excellent and highly recommended! :)

ETA: By the way, the "artisinal" pies are "small"--that's a joke. I think they're 14" pies. I do know larger ones are available, because our neighbors' pizza was even bigger than ours. You can easily order a small for two people and take home leftovers.

And for sake of comparison, this pizza was on a par with Old Saybrook's Alforno and Manchester's Mulberry if you enjoy pizza at either of those places, Mondo should be right up your alley!

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  1. We've been twice to Mondo, most recently yesterday for lunch. Initially, a few weeks ago with the same $15 for $30 deal. Have to agree wholeheartedly about the pizza. We had our benchmark: pepperoni and half sausage, half hot peppers (which were!!). Delicious: thin crust spot on with a bit of char, as described above. Could have used a little more char yesterday though. House salad with balsamic vinaigrette was split - perfect size for 2 and a nice mix of field greens and shredded romaine, along with mozzarella, grape tomatoes, olives, and cucumber slices. Could have used some red onion though. We very highly recommend Mondo. On a par with NH we think.

    1. Same owners as Naples in Farmington, so it's no surprise the pizza is great. I'd be cautious of the apps and sandwiches though, Naples has never been able to get those quite right.

      8 Replies
      1. re: ratbuddy

        The eggplant fries are fantastic. More like giant eggplant "fingers" or "tenders" than fries. Nice 'n crispy outside.

        No other apps thus far, but seeing their cheese plate on the blackboard with local offerings from Cato Corner Farm (Colchester) was cool.

        Anyone try their calzone? These days, I don't stray from Napoli (my calzone of choice in Meriden), but may hafta give it a shot here since it's so close to home and the pizza was so excellent.

        1. re: kattyeyes

          I have been meaning to start a thread on this place! I too had the same coupon and have been back twice now. We love this place. The Toscana salad is very similar to the one at max amores, the fig/arugala flatbread was unbelievable. My kiddos got the cheese calzone and my husband and I were not able to keep our hands away from it. The prosciutto panini was good but I would stick to the flatbreads and calzone next time!

          1. re: askeenan

            Hmm, I wonder if you hit the Farmington location (Naples) on a bad day for eggplant because eggplant shouldn't be bitter. Nothing bitter about what we ate at Mondo.

            I haven't tried Joey Garlic's eggplant fries, but my mom has--and she is selective (OK, downright picky!) about eggplant because she makes it at home very well--and she said they were delicious. Do you like the eggplant fries there? If so, seems we are on the same page.

            ETA: OOPS--this was supposed to be in reply to ratbuddy, but very glad to read your report as well, askeenan. :)

            1. re: kattyeyes

              Joey's eggplant fries are awesome. Easily the best I've ever had.

              Yeah, I think Naples was having a bad day, but so much was wrong with the food that we haven't been back. Again, the pizza was great, but in addition to the rancid eggplant, the 'Mondo Combo' grinder used lazily cut meats - ever try to bite through 1/8" cut sopressata or prosciutto? Ain't pretty.

              Years past, we never had basic issues like that with Naples. Maybe they sent the good chef down to Mondo and left the original place on cruise control.

              1. re: ratbuddy

                Agree--I HATE when cold cuts aren't thinly sliced. That's just wrong. Definitely try the eggplant fries if you come to M'town!

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  My last three contracts were in Portland, and with any luck I'll get a referral down there, so it's likely I'll get to check out Mondo in the near future.

                  My DW saw this thread and surprised me with a large order of eggplant fries from Joey's Pizza Pie just a few minutes ago, I'll go find or start a thread on that place to post a few pics.

          2. re: kattyeyes

            The eggplant fries must be way better than the Farmington location, because those ones were absolutely terrible. Easily the most bitter eggplant I've ever had.

            Ever tried Joey Garlics/Joey's Pizza Pie's eggplant fries?

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Is there anything I do not like about Mondo? NO! The hits just keep on comin'. I've been dying to try their arugula and prosciutto-stuffed fresh mozz with truffle oil app. I finally did and it's EXCEPTIONAL! Served in little bite-sized slices (think sushi)--what a treat!

            Shared the Mondo Special tonight--pepperoni, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, peppers, onions and olives. Pics from my phone won't do any of this justice, but it's enough for you to see how nice and thin the 'roni is so it curls to form a little cup. Mmmmm!

            And, might I add, we find friendly waitresses every time we go. Old-fashioned service from genuinely friendly, knowledgeable young ladies who help with wine or beer recommendations, make sure your glass is full and check to see if you're enjoying your meal or need anything else. Hey, not to mention, and not that it was any contest, but Mondo recently won the #1 spot for best pizza in M'town! Don't change a thing, Mondo. This kat--along with her friends and fam--couldn't possibly think more highly of you.


            4 Replies
            1. re: kattyeyes

              At Mondo's last night I had the best pizza I've ever had, in my life. Given the good reviews I am hopeful that it wasn't an anomaly and won't be disappointed in the future!

              A couple of negatives: I was laughed at on the phone when I called to see if they accepted reservations. After being there it's clear they don't, but one doesn't wish to be laughed at before even patronizing a place. Our waitress was very friendly and knowledgeable, but we were given our check without being asked if we wanted more, a pet peeve. I am patronizing your restaurant, spending a lot of money usually, and tip generously when appropriate, don't tell me when I'm done.

              We started (3 of us) with the Misto Plate: Marinated artichoke hearts, olives, roasted red peppers, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, polenta fries, provolone and field greens. The greens were lightly dressed and had the addition of thin slivers of lemon zest- perfect. The prosciutto was sliced extremely thin and seemed more of a ham, but was tasty. Polenta fries were hot, crisp, not greasy. I only wish there were more.
              Next 2 of us split an arugula salad: baby arugula, goat cheese, red onion, candied walnuts and grape tomatoes tossed in lemon vinaigrette. Light, very tasty. The goat cheese was incorporated into the dressing which added to the flavor somehow.

              The star of the show was the red, four-cheese artisanal pizza. Like kattyeyes I grew up in Middletown, surrounded by wonderful Italian food, and my step-father's family is Italian, so I feel I know a thing or two about the food. The crust was crispy, chewy, perfect char as stated. Not too much flour and/or cornmeal on the bottom, as sometimes happens in some places. The four cheeses were goat cheese, fontina, fresh mozzarella and provolone. A perfect combination. The pie can come white or red, we had red. The sauce was minimal, almost non-existent, slightly sweet. I maybe would have liked a bit more sauce, but that's the only thing I would change.
              We had beer, there were maybe 6 on tap (?) There was wine, though it didn't seem an extensive list.
              I can't wait to go back.

              1. re: dennisl

                ALL RIGHT! :) I want to try the polenta fries now. And YOU wanna try the fresh mozz/prozhutt/arugula appetizer with truffle oil.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  We had an expiring SaveNowCT coupon so we tried Mondo on Monday evening. The restaurant is larger than I expected from the photos on the website. There is a bar with 2 TV’s, but unfortunately, most of the stools were taken or we would have watched the Women's Olympic basketball team’s exhibition game.

                  The noise level was annoying with music playing, people talking loudly and a few screaming children.

                  I was surprised that beer by the pitcher was not offered so we settled on a pair of Blue Moon drafts. We ordered a large Mondo Bianco pizza with spinach that includes ricotta & mozzarella, garlic, fresh basil and white sauce. The crust was thin but not charred as you would find in a pizzeria that uses a wood burning stove. Toppings were fresh, but the combination would have benefited from the addition of fresh tomatoes. Our service was good, but we noticed 3-4 instances where food was delivered to the wrong table. Overall, we felt it was probably the best we have had in the Middletown area, but it did not compare favorably with New Haven’s finest.

                  1. re: westie


                    Don't be surprised that beer by the pitcher was not available. You are going to see less and less of it. Insurers (and yes as a CT Attorney, I represent some of them) are starting to refuse coverage to establishments that sell beer by the pitcher. A bartender serving individual drinks has a better control on how much a patronl drinks.

                    If a table of four has two pitchers of beer, the bartender has no idea if everypne has had two beers, or if three people have one beer each and the fourth has 6 or 7. HUGE liability for the establishment. A bartender can defend his/her actions if he/she only served a patron two beers and the patron did not appear intoxicated, but has a car accident on the way home and kills someone. The bartender has no idea of the state of inebriation of everyone at the table when pitchers go to the table. AND if the designated driver is getting the pitchers at the bar as opposed to a server delivering the pitchers to the table the establishment really has no control.

                    I am not preaching and not commenting on the food or beer, but explaining an expanding trend.

            2. I finally got to try the arugula & prosciutto pizza today: fresh mozz, truffle oil, arugula and prosciutto di Parma. Another stunner of a pie! A silly cell shot doesn't do it justice, but you get the picture, so to speak. Yum. I asked for a couple of lemon wedges to squeeze over the top. Just delicious. Even reheated later, it was still outstanding.